Agenda item

East Sussex Road Safety Programme - Progress report

Report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport.


10.1     The Head of Communities introduced the report. She outlined the background to the report and that the position regarding the number of people Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) in road collisions in East Sussex remains above the national average. Detailed statistical analysis has confirmed that 90-95% of KSI’s are caused by human error. This is based on the latest available KSI figures from the last two 2 quarters of 2017 and the first two quarters of 2018 (KSI figures for East Sussex: Quarter 3 of 2017, 109 KSI’s; Quarter 4 of 2017, 92 KSI’s; Quarter 1 of 2018, 65 KSI’s and; Quarter 2 of 2018, 102 KSI’s).


10.2     There are two strands of work in the East Sussex Road Safety Programme – Behavioural Change projects to tackle driving behaviour and Speed Management to introduce engineering measures at locations which have a higher than County average for KSI collisions.


Behavioural Change


10.3     The Programme continues to work with the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) on a number of projects. The BIT has taken an empirical approach and tested all data in order to produce a more realistic model of behaviour that has the ability to make changes in behaviour. Analysis work undertaken with the BIT has identified the vulnerable groups to target for behaviour change projects. This was endorsed by the Project Board which is a multi-agency group that includes the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP). It is anticipated that the projects will bring about the necessary behaviour change over the longer term, which will lead to a reduction of the number of KSI’s. The Projects include:


·        Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) – The amendment of the NIP warning letter to reduce reoffending rates for speeding. Immediately after an offence has been shown to be a good time to try and change people’s driving behaviour.

·        Operation Crackdown – The warning letter is to be amended to reduce re-offending from current rates.

·        Anniversary Project - After a speeding offence people resolve to change their driving behaviour. The Anniversary Project aims to re-contact people on the 6 month anniversary of the offence to remind people of their resolve to change their driving behaviour.

·        Social Media Project – This is a project targeted at 17-24 year old male drivers who are disproportionally represented in the KSI figures, but who are a hard to reach group in terms of contact and engagement to change behaviour. An online campaign will be delivered to engage with this hard to reach group. The ESCC Communications Team is working with private sector agency that has experience of working with this group to develop the project. The work has involved running focus groups to see how to get this group to engage with the project. The project is designed to get as many 17-24 year olds to sign up and engage with them to measure and implement behaviour change projects.

·        Biker Groups – Work has started to work with this group which will be tested and evaluated at forthcoming biker events.


Speed Management


10.4     This part of the Programme involves schemes to carry out evidence based road improvements. The focus is on 30 sections of road that have been identified for detailed examination because they are above the County average for KSI collisions. The Team Manager, Road Safety outlined that work on the first fifteen schemes has already started. Two schemes have been completed, with the others being delivered in the next 3-6 months. The work is being undertaken by the Council’s highways contractor within the road maintenance programme to minimise disruption. The Road Safety Team is starting work on next fifteen schemes, which will be delivered in 2019/20.


10.5     The Committee discussed the report and made a number of comments which are summarised below.


KSI Figures


10.6     The Committee discussed the reasons why East Sussex has KSI figures that are higher than the national average. It highlighted factors such as:

·        The variability in the way Serious Injury collisions are recorded by different Police forces;

·        The nature of road network in East Sussex which has less dual carriageway and motorways which statistically have less KSI’s;

·        The proportion of the road network that is single carriageway, with limited opportunities to overtake safely; and

·        The lack of comparability with other areas.


10.7     The Assistant Director, Communities outlined there is an ongoing issue to standardise Police force data. However, Sussex Police have a very robust approach in adhering to Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines for reporting KSI’s.


Social Media Project


10.8     The Committee discussed the social media project and the proposed use of media for the target group of 17-24 year old male drivers. Concerns were raised by some Committee members about the messages contained in the proposed media.


10.9     The Head of Communications explained that the targeting of young male drivers and the offer of a Track Day is to encourage people to sign up is justified. This is a relatively small group of around 20,000 people and the poster is intended to be displayed on social media and not in public settings. The Assistant Director, Communities added that out of the 350 – 360 KSI’s per year, around 50-60 are from this target group. This is the first programme to use a data based, behavioural science approach to target and get behaviour change in this hard to reach group. Councillor Elford asked if it was possible to see the data analysis used to identify the vulnerable groups. The Head of Communities outlined that the Team are comfortable that data analysis for the vulnerable groups is correct.


Summary Comments


10.10   The Head of Communities summarised by saying that 90-95% of KSI collisions are due to driver behaviour and this is something the East Sussex Road Safety programme is targeting. This approach is something new and if it can bring about behaviour change, it will make a difference. Projects such as Notice of Intended prosecution (NIP) letter sent to those caught speeding, is aimed at a key moment when people are open to changing their behaviour. The Head of Communities acknowledged there will always be some people who will not change their behaviour, but there are some people whose behaviour the Programme can influence.


10.11   The Committee welcomed report and the behaviour change approach that has been adopted. It noted that the majority of KSI’s are caused by driving behaviour and changing the nature of the road network in East Sussex is not an option. The focus of work on KSI’s should be to look at reducing absolute numbers, rather than getting tied up with comparability with other areas.


10.12   The Committee hoped that the work of the Programme will have an impact on driver behaviour and other areas will adopt this approach if it is successful in changing driver behaviour. The Committee requested a further update in September 2019.


10.13   The Committee RESOLVED to:


1) note that between 90% and 95% of road traffic collisions resulting in killed and seriously injured people are caused by driver error;

2) endorse the progress made on the development and implementation of the East Sussex Road Safety Programme; and

3) request a further progress report to be presented to the Committee in September 2019.

Supporting documents: